EU barred from Gambia election

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President of the Gambia, Yahya jammeh
President of the Gambia, Yahya jammeh

Authorities have barred European Union observer group access to monitor its Presidential Election in Gambia scheduled for Dec. 1

EU spokesman disclosed this amid concerns of a free and fair election in the West African nation.

He said that the EU had been ready to deploy a small team to provide “technical assessment” of the Dec. 1 vote.

A source said that the Gambia’s Election Commission had indicated willingness to allow the EU participate in the election like it did in 2011.’

However, the EU spokesman disclosed that the commission had been informed of the denial by the Gambian government.

“We have been informed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Gambia that the mission was not accepted,” the spoke

Acording to Reuters, Gambian government spokesman did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

An official at the electoral commission told Reuters that African Union observers had been accredited to attend the elections.

President Yahya Jammeh and opposition leaders have begun two weeks of final campaigning across the former British colony.

Eight opposition parties have rallied behind one candidate, businessman Adama Barrow, in a bid to end Jammeh’s 22-year rule, which activists and diplomats say has been marred by human rights abuses and repression.

Jammeh said last week all observers were welcome to come and observe “the credibility of the electoral process”.

Visiting Gambia last week, the top U.N. regional official for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, called for transparency and a “level playing field” for the vote.

At the last election in 2011, regional African bloc ECOWAS refused to send observers, citing intimidation of the opposition and the electorate.

Worries have been stoked this year by the treatment of opposition politicians. Nearly 50 protesters were arrested in April and May, including UDP party leader Ousainu Darboe and at least 18 other senior members.

Two are reported to have since died during their detention.

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